Education Department awards student aid contract

The Education Department has awarded Perot Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, a $17.4 million contract for systems development, operations and maintenance for an integrated partner management system for the Office of Federal Student Aid. Partners include schools, banks and other lenders, collection agencies, and federal and state agencies.

The Federal Student Aid program makes $64 billion available annually for college loans. The contract is for five years with development and implementation of the eligibility and enrollment functionalities first, and then oversight functionality in a second phase.

The system will integrate various business functions including enrollment, eligibility and oversight processes used to manage trading partner entities as they administer Title IV financial aid. The system is part of Federal Student Aid's modernization efforts, integrating services currently provided through legacy systems to improve program integrity and reduce costs.

The integrated partner management system aims to address weaknesses in the current stovepiped architecture with multiple partner entry points to the Federal Student Aid services, redundant data entry and storage, excessive file exchange activities, and the inability to view consolidated data about a partner's activities and needs.

'These deficiencies result in barriers to adequate monitoring and oversight, limits to Federal Student Aid's ability to provide customer service to partners, and frustration among its customers, who must deal with multiple systems to perform a single business function,' Education said in its original solicitation.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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